Francesca Simmons

Musician and Performer

Francesca is a musician, performer, composer and independent artist. Born in Wales, she has worked extensively in London and Wales and is now based in Bristol. 

As a versatile performer she is able to wear many hats, and likes to work in pieces that blur the boundaries for musicians, often in character. Presently she works mainly for The Paper Cinema, as part of their international touring team. 

She writes under her moniker Madame Česki and began 2016 by self-releasing her debut album PALIMPSEST, to wide acclaim.






The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey

Portfolio image: Francesca Simmons - The Paper Cinema's Odyssey
In 2012 I was asked by Quinta to dep her place in The Paper Cinema’s Odyssey, created by Nic Rawling, Chris Reed and Imogen Charleston. We toured across UK playing venues such as The Tobacco Factory, Contact Theatre Manchester and Battersea Arts Centre London. In the show I play violin, musical saw, tiny bit of keys and some singing. The company itself uses the language of animation, music, film and theatre to create its unique shows.rnrnDuring early 2015 I was asked to become part of the new international touring team for the show, which is ongoing. So far we have take the Odyssey to China, Taiwan, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Kuwait, and Poland. Where’s next!

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Madame Česki

Portfolio image: Francesca Simmons - Madame Česki
In January 2016 I self-released my debut album ‘Palimpsest’ on an unsuspecting audience. Loosely described as ‘freak folk chamber music songs’ or ‘psych folk’, it has garnered a fair few accolades of surprise and applause, and been played on Tom Robinson’s BBC Introducing and 6 Music show, and BBC Radio Wales/Cymru. I wrote, performed and recorded the whole album myself. Here are a few quips from some of my favourite reviews:rnrn’A fiercely independent and innovative artist’ Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 6rnrn’Madame Česki invites the listener into her bold, original and sometimes disquieting personal space’ fRoots Magazinernrn’Elusive and enigmatic’ FATEA Recordsrnrn(Madame Česki)…sounds like the end result from Sue White from Green Wing deciding to make a record!’ Fresh On The Net

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Giffords Circus

Portfolio image: Francesca Simmons - Giffords Circus
Between 2010-2011 I was a member of Giffords Circus Band, performing in character for the shows ‘Yasmine’ and ‘War and Peace’. I also worked for composer Sarah Llewellyn researching the background to the music, assisting string players in the band, and fermenting my part in London based music group TONAL, led by Sarah.rnrnAt the circus I played violin, double bass, BVs, musical saw and sop sax, alongside a bit of tap dancing!

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My Name Is Sue

Portfolio image: Francesca Simmons - My Name Is Sue
During 2014 I worked for Dafydddd James and Company in his production ‘My name Is Sue’. Described as ‘the piano-wielding, pill-popping prophet from Wales’, I was part of her faithful backing band, playing violin, singing, musical saw, cello and recorder in character as ‘Violin Sue’, befit with red cardigan, tweed skirt and bowler hair cut – gwych! We played at various venues including Chapter Cardiff, Bristol Old Vic and Soho Theatre.

Cross-Artform Performances

Portfolio image: Francesca Simmons - Cross-Artform Performances
I have worked alongside artists of many mediums in work that crosses boundaries between music and performing. Most memorable include ‘Facing The Carnyx’ at National Portrait Gallery London, ‘Sirens’ at Royal Academy of Art London, and ‘Golau’ and ‘Mapio Madoc Creadigol’ both in North Wales. Please check out my Vimeo page to browse these videos.

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Secret Cinema

Portfolio image: Francesca Simmons - Secret Cinema
In early 2011 I worked for Secret Cinema in their immersive cinema experience of ‘The Red Shoes’ at Tobacco Dock, London. I performed in character as a busking violinist and percussion flashmob leader ‘Funtime Frankie’.